Study on the rise of alcoholism in the United States receives criticism for using ‘compromised data’

A study that chillingly exposes the decade-long “public health crisis” that arose in the United States due to excessive alcohol consumption has come under severe criticism for relying on composite data to reach that conclusion. It has been criticized by some experts and the Distilled Spirits Council (DSC) for being less consistent and for not including young adults under the age of 18, who are increasingly drinking alcohol in the United States.

The study was sponsored by federal agencies, such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and was based on data provided by the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcoholism and Related Conditions ( NESARC). for the period 2001-02 and 2012-13. During the course of the study, participants were screened for problem alcohol and alcohol use disorders (AUD).

High-risk alcohol consumption was compared with four standard drinks (1 standard drink = 14 grams of pure alcohol). The researchers found that in the 11-year span between passing the first NESARC assessment and the second, there was a substantial increase in alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and AUD over 12 months, especially among women, older adults, ethnic / minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Cases of high-risk alcohol use increased from 8.5 percent in 2001 to 12.7 percent in 2013, an increase of 49.4 percent, indicating that nearly 30 million Americans are under the spell of the alcohol. Overall, alcohol consumption increased from 65.4 percent to 72.7 percent, while high-risk consumption increased by 29.9 percent.

The overall increase in AUD in various subgroups over 11 years is as follows:

  • Women: 83.7 percent
  • African Americans: 92.8 percent
  • Middle-aged adults (45-64 years): 81.5 percent
  • Seniors (65 years or older): 106.7 percent
  • People with secondary education: 57.8 percent
  • Employees earning less than $ 20,000: 65.9 percent

More methodological NSDUH data

In stark contrast, another study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), revealed that the alcoholism graph instead of reaching its peak in that period had decreased. It stated that while in 2002, 7.7 percent of Americans age 12 and older were under the spell of alcohol, 6.6 percent were reported to be addicted to alcohol in 2013. In addition, NSDUH tested people 12 and older. more, while the NESARC survey considered only those 18 years and older. above.

Another apparent flaw in the NESARC study was related to the fact that no biological samples were collected in the first round, although an attempt was made to collect saliva samples in the second round. Also, since most of the study participants were informed in advance that they would be tested for drug use, it is likely that they would respond differently. NESARC respondents also received monetary rewards in 2012-13, which was not the case in the first wave. This could have influenced your responses.

Richard Grucza, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, compared the methodologies of both surveys and said: “NSDUH methods are much more consistent from year to year and are administered annually. They tend to give more weight to the NSDUH data. “

Alcohol is a dangerous addiction

Heavy alcohol consumption remains a serious concern. Every year, thousands of people succumb to alcohol-related problems, including accidents, unintentional injuries, suicides, and homicides. Designing more effective preventive policies, increasing public awareness programs, and making health care facilities accessible to all is the need of the moment.

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